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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 8, 2011 7:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

Not really a specific response to the topic of Chicago 70s shows, but I've noticed that you seem to have some of the most incredibly comprehensive set of performance notes of anyone I have seen post around these parts. It seems like no matter what the topic is, you have some really well grounded observations with a lot of references to individual shows.

I'm curious if you're willing to share a bit about how you have the information organized, just how comprehensive your listening has been, and so forth.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 8, 2011 8:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

Thanks for the kind words bkidwell,I have been listening to the band since 78' and was lucky enough to make friends with some tapers early on so I had access to a lot of the music from the the start.I have put in countless thousands of hours listening like many of our fellow fanatics.
When I retired a few years ago and got my first computer I came here and began the process of listening to every show between 68'-80' and hand writing a review of each show on a legal pad,for the song portion I would simply grade them bad,avg,good,or in the case of something really good to extraordinary I would put an asterisk.As for the more jammed out part of the repertoire,Dark Star,Other One,Playin',Eyes,Bird Song,Here comes Sunshie,Let It Grow,Estimated,Dew and a few others I would break the song down into two minute segments and write what was happening in that segment.So a review depending on the setlist and year can be up to a page-page 1/2.
After I listened to everything I went back and listened again,sometimes twice,to every song I gave an asterisk,to be as sure as I could the song was a special version.All told I think there were 1254* songs when done.
After that I tackled 80'-85 with a much more streamlined approach.I managed to listen what passed for jam material in the 80's,all the versions of Playin',Scarlet ->Fire,Estimated->Eyes,Let it Grow,Bird Song,Dew,Shakedown,all the Jerry ballads and some of the first set songs I still liked.
Not being as well versed in musical terminology or as studied in my ability to express my musical opinions as say,LIA or bkidwell,I go the route of using what I have listened to as an aid in making my point.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 9, 2011 3:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

Wow! Thanks for sharing that, I am truly impressed. With such an amazing set of notes written out long-hand, you should do something like use a scanner to save a copy of them in digital form. Comprehensive notes on everything from 68-80 including the jam notes you describe sounds almost unique! Thanks a lot for sharing all the recommendations and references, I have discovered you often point out notable versions and shows that are relevant but not famous.

I am a lot more likely to make notes now than I used to be, there are so many expert listeners who post here. I have a hard time structuring my listening as carefully as a lot of people seem to, I try to make sure I'm always listening to some new things, but it is hard to resist the lure of certain ultraclassic performances. Sometimes I go into a frenzy about one particular show and listen to the same 2nd set twice a night for a week, and sometimes its a show I've already heard twenty times before.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 9, 2011 10:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

I've never kept notes, or listened through chronologically.....I should have, but I've never been that organized, so I go mainly on memory. So I feel like I don't have much useful to say about shows I haven't heard in 10 years!
On top of that, given how my opinions can change over time, and how different a show can sound depending on when I listen to it, I could never say, "there are X number of excellent performances from this year" - and I hesitate to say anything like, "this is a list of the X top performances of this tune." And of course, one person's top shows wouldn't match another's! I often raise my eyebrows at someone else's top picks...
I've noticed, though, that the folks who listen to EVERYTHING straight through tend to be pickier and harsher when grading what's "excellent." The shows might 'flatten out' in consistency, as it were, while the true standouts may become more obvious.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jul 9, 2011 11:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

> but I've never been that organized, so I go mainly on memory.

Holy petunias LiA, if your not organized, I don't want to think where that puts me. And memory part, I won't even touch.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 9, 2011 11:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

Can you imagine what my posts would be like if I actually knew what I was talking about....sigh....

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Jul 9, 2011 1:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

Can you imagine if I ever read any of them?

:-)

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 9, 2011 1:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

Or if I ever read yours!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 9, 2011 3:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

Ha! LiA makes a joke at the Forum!? Methinks?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 9, 2011 5:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

Hmm. I'd better return to dignified silence, before I start lapsing into yellow dog stories.....

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Jul 9, 2011 3:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

Think ye?

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Jul 9, 2011 4:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

therefore he is! hear ye, Hear ye !

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 9, 2011 5:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: re: notes

No notes, just memory?! That makes me think my memory really has been impaired by the traditional Deadhead vices...but on a more substantive note, I think your comment about how more comprehensive listeners tend to be more selective is interesting.

I sometimes worry about becoming overly drawn to what is unusual and rare in comparison to something that might be commonplace, but still excellent. There is a somewhat perverse principle at work here - often the most effective material will be chosen for the heaviest performance rotation. Once you have heard two dozen Dark Star->St. Stephens, it is likely that hearing #25 won't make nearly as much impact as #2 did, and all of a sudden you are trying to seek out "Mason's Children" and probably overrating it because it sounds fresh.

I find that it can be hard to maintain my focus for material that is strong, but usually performed the same way. "Estimated Prophet" is a song I thought was just amazingly interesting when it was relatively new to me, but it is hard for me now to feel the same excitement.

It may be that the most Deadicated listeners end up with a somewhat skewed perspective - our fondness for the most distinctive and unpredictable jams might have to do with the hunger for novelty and we are underrating the standard tunes that more consistency between performances.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 9, 2011 6:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: notes

One thing that was instructive for me was reading Matt Vernon's reviews of Dead shows on his etree page... He was, of course, one of the most important traders who circulated Dead sources and created this section of the Archive, and went to the trouble of reviewing every Dead show up to '79....and yet, reading through, show after show gets notes like: "average," "bottom percentile," "didn't move me," "worth hearing once," etc. One wonders where the magic went?
So that may be a side-effect of listening TOO thoroughly to every show! (Not every show, after all, is something special.) I've also seen on various forums that people who try reviewing every show in a tour tend to burn out quickly....

The thing is, despite their fame for being unpredictable, the Dead were quite consistent (at least in the years I like to listen to), and also didn't vary their songs that much. So when they do something really unique or superb, I think it totally makes sense for us to keep returning to it in fascinated awe....there's no shame in listening to, say, 9/19/70 over and over again! And the famed one-time-only jams or transitions (like, at random, the 4/15/70 jam) are special not just for novelty or being unusual, but because they tend to be the Dead at their best - they're models for what the Dead COULD achieve.

Maybe I made it sound like listening to too much Dead must lead to numbness & burnout... But it isn't so. That Dark Star #25 just might be the one that lights up your ears and becomes your favorite... Those out-of-nowhere moments, the first time you listen you go, "Holy smokes! Did I just hear that?" - and that first moment can't be recaptured - but the tenth time you listen, you still go, "Holy smokes! How did they DO that?"

Anyway, one minor value in not keeping notes is that you forget, and get to rediscover things later on....I'm forever wondering where I heard something, and revisiting shows I don't remember. So it's somewhat ironic I'm busily working on a Dead site that's basically a glorified series of notes for myself!

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 9, 2011 11:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark.Starz

The way I approached listening to the catalog was to listen to a 68' show then a 69' show etc through 79' then back to a 68',so as not burn out on a year and keep things fresh.At the time I took on the project I had been listening for about 30 years so it wasn't like I hadn't heard a good deal of the music already and though opinions might change a song that is well done usually remains a song well done,I'm aware that an opinion can change and I was not trying to create a definitive list of best of this or that,simply a record of how I felt about the performance of that song on that date.I am completely unaffected by what other people think about the music and consistently find myself puzzled by their likes and dislikes.I don't feel qualified to speak on how or why other people have come to have their opinions on the music,since I don't know them it lacks any validity,I simply agree or disagree with their assessment.